[Sinn Fein]

28th January 2003

Nothing in social partnership to address social imbalance or poverty

Speaking after attending a press conference organised by Community Platform in relation the Social Partnership negotiations Sinn Fein spokesperson on Community, Social and Family Affairs Seán Crowe said he agreed with their analysis, which questioned the government's commitment to real social partnership.

Deputy Crowe said:

"The Governments rhetoric on the issues of social inclusion in advance of the last general election has now well and truly been exposed as a sham. Their pledge to provide 200,000 extra people with a medical has come to nothing. Their pledge to tackle poverty with social welfare increases was meaningless when rising costs and inflation meant people were in reality worse off. The housing crisis and the number of homeless people on the streets continue to grow unabated.

"There is no evidence to suggest that their commitment to redressing the massive social imbalance that exists in this state will emerge from this round of negotiations on social partnership.

"The reality is that the gap between rich and poor has widened in the many years of social partnership deals. Those most vulnerable in society continue to be disadvantaged by government policies.

"I support Community Platform in their efforts to have the voices of people living in poverty and suffering discrimination heard and represented at the negotiation table. For our part, Sinn Fein will continue to demand government policies that will make Ireland a just and more equal place to live."

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